Infrastructure in the News: June 18, 2012
The Hill: Highway negotiations approaching a dead end
The congressional negotiations about a new transportation bill are entering their sixth week with most observers thinking there is no longer hope for lawmakers to reach a deal on a possible compromise. Lawmakers have until June 30 to agree on a new bill to appropriate road and transit projects. But with two weeks to go before the schedule expiration of the current highway funding, they have very little to show for more than a month's worth of negotiations.
USA Today: East Coast ports scramble to dig deep, for supersize ships
A growing number of supersize freighters, which up to now have relied mostly on West Coast ports to deliver goods from Asia to the USA because they couldn't fit through the Panama Canal, will be able to make the trip to the East Coast economically when an expansion of the canal is completed in 2014. Ports on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, whose harbors have been too shallow to accommodate these behemoths, are gearing up to spend more than $40 billion over the next five years to deepen their shipping channels and make other upgrades, according to Aaron Ellis, director of communications for the American Association of Port Authorities.
DC Streetsblog: No More Mr. Nice Guy: Transit Advocates Get Organized
But what do you do if there’s no transit rider organization in your area? You can just live with service cuts and fare increases – or you can organize. That’s the idea behind Americans for Transit, a brand-new nonprofit dedicated to building grassroots support for quality, affordable transit service around the country. “There’s no national organization doing this,” said Andrew Austin, the organization’s new executive director.
Transportation Nation: Council on Foreign Relations Also Doesn’t Like US Infrastructure
It’s not news that U.S. infrastructure is falling behind — we’ve reported on this many times before. But it kind of caught our eye that the Council on Foreign Relations — a New York-based think tank that tends to host talks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the like — is issuing its own scathing report on the state of U.S.’s transportation infrastructure.
Lancaster Eagle Gazette: Congress should be better at transportation planning
The Surface Transportation Act, called the highway bill for short, is the basic measure funding the nation's roads, bridges and mass transportation systems. Typically, the bill lasts for four to six years, giving state transportation officials needed time for long-term planning. The last bill expired in 2009. Congress temporarily has extended it nine times since then, most recently in March. That extension expires June 30. So much for long-term transportation planning.
Huffington Post: Detroit Light Rail Still Stalled After U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Shares Concerns
Backers of Detroit's on-again, off-again light rail project who were expecting some good news Monday may have to wait two months longer for a federal verdict on plans for the city's privately-funded transportation venture. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Detroit to meet with a group of private investors and public officials who support the proposed 3.3 mile line that would run along Woodward Avenue from downtown to New Center.
Transport Politic: A Bipartisan Push for Rail in Virginia Produces Ridership Successe
Despite the significant opposition to investment in intercity rail from Republican governors in states from Ohio to Florida, Virginia’s GOP leadership has taken a considerably different course. In office since January 2010, Bob McDonnell has presided over a significant expansion in Amtrak routes — and more is expected by the end of this year. In the meantime, the state’s population has gobbled up the service offered, seeing very significant increases in ridership, offering considerable evidence that Americans are perfectly willing to take the train — if the right routes are provided.
Crosscut: Potholes forever: the state's transportation-funding impasse
The state of Washington has a big and unresolved problem: a transportation budget deficit of large proportions. A task force appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2011 estimated that the backlog is at least $50 billion, but that the most important needs could be met with the expenditure of $21 billion over 10 years. New revenue sources would be required, and the task force provides a number of possibilities. Advocates hoped a hefty measure could be placed before state voters this year, when the presidential race assured a good turnout, particularly of Democratic voters.
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